Last weekend Connor and I went on a trip to see bits of California I've never seen on our way to the final destination: Disneyland. Originally we were going to go by the coast and stay in Morro Bay. But wouldn't you know it, all the colleges in the area were doing their graduation and there wasn't a hotel available along the entire central coast. All of it. So despite the heat, we decided to go to Joshua Tree instead. We arrived in the evening and saw the sunset, which was much more impressive because a storm had rolled in and we saw the occasional flash of lightning.
The next day we headed further south to Salvation Mountain. On the way we stopped by Bombay beach, which contains ruins of a once vibrant holiday community. The Salton Sea smells just as bad as everyone describes, but it was still quite interesting to walk around. I hadn't realized that the Salton Sea was formed from a leak in irrigation from the Colorado River in the early 1900s. It has no inlet or outlet and over the years has gotten polluted from agricultural runoff in the area.
By the middle of the day we made it to Salvation Mountain. It is a monument built by Leonard Knight out of adobe and is his tribute to God. The scale is amazing. And to think one man built it. There is a "yellow brick road" that you can climb to stand at the top of the monument.
Salvation Mountain is just in front of Slab City, a place that looks like it has come straight out of a Mad Max movie. There is an outdoor art display in "East Jesus", not far from "West Satan". We drove by, but it was quite hot (106F or 41C), so we stayed in the car. We spent the rest of the day driving around the rest of the Salton Sea, including stopping at a border patrol checkpoint (we were pretty darn close to Mexico at this point). We eventually made it to our hotel in Anaheim that was walking distance from Disneyland. At this point I was suffering from a pretty bad cold, but we walked to downtown Disney, had a lovely dinner, and walked back.
The next day was epic. We spent 15 hours at Disneyland, including lunch at my all time favorite restaurant: The Blue Bayou. It was quite crowded for a Monday, but no matter. We got onto each ride we wanted to once. (We also saw someone getting proposed to.) By the end of the day we staggered back and passed out immediately. Not too many pictures were taken because we were having a lot of fun. But near the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, I found this hat and decided that Disney missed out on having a really good extra in their movies.
On our last day, before leaving LA, we stopped by the La Brea tar pits. I'd been there before, but Connor hadn't. I highly recommend going to the Page Museum that is located on the grounds. Connor got to meet a large mammoth.
We then drove up Highland street so Connor could get a glimpse of the Hollywood sign before we drove on to Solvang for an early dinner. It was 10pm by the time we got back home. We filled our four days to the brim and drove over 1000 miles (1600km). By the end, we were quite happy to be back in our own bed again.